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Introduction
Source : The Judy Chicago / Donald Woodman Haggadah
I write this year’s Prologue as Israel is going to the polls to decide whether to replace its present right-wing prime minister with the Zionist Union, a center-left political alliance. Whatever the outcome, chances are that Israel’s recent history of fractured politics and short-lived coalitions will probably continue. But why am I writing about Israel? you might ask. Aren’t there enough issues here at home for us to deal with? Perhaps it is because of the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, which has caused me to recognize - perhaps for the first time - the necessity of a Jewish homeland. For what would we do if that same anti-Semitism developed here? Where would we go? Similarly, should European Jews move to Israel? Would they be safer there?

Thus the age-old Jewish dilemma; where can we be secure? Sadly, the 19th century Zionist dream of Israel as a secular, social democratic country has given way to the increasing influence of rabidly Anti-Arab, misogynist religious zealots; the nightmare of the seemingly unrelenting Occupation; and a Middle East in intensifying turmoil with a rapidly spreading Islamic fundamentalism so deeply antagonistic to the modern world that its practitioners are ready to blow themselves up in a misguided fantasy about reversing the course of history.

What a mess. And what are American Jews supposed to do? Not think about it? Maybe, but not tonight, not at Seder when we are gathered to think about what it means to be Jewish and to remember that because we were once slaves in Egypt, it is our obligation to work for the freedom of all others. One thing seems clear; there is no solution in bombs. Only the long, hard work of building a world of justice and equality will create a world of peace. But we seem so far from this ideal. In fact, it seems almost hopeless.

And yet, Seder is intended to renew our hope and every year that we have done Seder together, this is what has happened. We have left renewed, the dark clouds of recent history lifted, if only for a moment. So let us commit ourselves to this evening, to this Seder, where we can share our longing for a different world, one in which Jews come back to our ancient mandate, that we should be a light onto the world. Let us come together and remind ourselves and each other that in community, there is strength; in sharing, there is human connection; and in reciting the Seder story - as Jews are doing all over the world - we will make it come true or at least, not as far away as it seems right now.

Introduction
Source : Pesach: A Season of Justice

Passover is rich in social justice themes. It is impossible to study the story of our redemption and not feel compelled to eradicate injustice in the world today. Among the primary social justice themes found in the Exodus story and in the Passover observance are hunger and homelessness and oppression and redemption. “This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all those who are hungry come and eat with us. Let all who are in want share the hope of Passover.” (Haggadah, “Ha Lachma Anya”) “Ha Lachma Anya” reminds us of a time when our diets were once restricted to matzah, considered the “bread of affliction.”
 
Due to our hasty retreat from Egypt, we were limited to the food carried on our backs – the unleavened bread that we were unable to thoroughly prepare. Our experience with hardship following the exodus from Egypt inspires us to consider those who eat the metaphorical “bread of affliction” in present times, and to let all those who are now hungry join us at our Passover tables.  “Even the poorest person in Israel may not eat until he reclines, and they must not give him less than four cups of wine.” (Babylonian Talmud, Pesachim 99b) 
 
The Babylonian Talmud reminds us that it is imperative for us to take care of all in our community, even the poorest person, during Passover and throughout the year.  Four cups of wine, quite a luxury for some, is seen as an integral part of the Passover observance. The requirement that even poor Jews be provided with ample wine, and presumably, with 
all the ritual foods and courses for the one night of the Seder, leads to the expectation that we should help the poor and the hungry year-round. “My Father was a wandering Aramean who went down to Egypt and dwelled 
there.” (Haggadah, “Maggid”) 
 
The painful reminder of our status as strangers in the land of Egypt and our subsequent 40 years of wandering in the wilderness without a home raises awareness of immigration and refugee concerns. The memory instills in us a desire to eradicate homelessness in the areas around us, and ultimately, the world.  “This year we are slaves. Next year, may we all be free” (Haggadah, “Ha Lachma Anya”) 
 
As we are commanded, we place ourselves directly into the story, remembering what it was like for us, the Children of Israel, to be slaves in the land of Egypt. This personal experience of slavery motivates us to examine the current international situation and wrestle with cases of injustice, oppression, and slavery today. Sadly, slavery did not end 
at that time, but persists even to this day. Pesach is an opportunity for us to raise awareness of contemporary examples of slavery and oppression throughout the world.  In our own nation, domestic violence traps victims within their homes, limiting their freedom as surely as if they were enslaved. 
  
When we recall our immense joy at being freed from slavery to worship and live according to the dictates of our faith, we are inspired to celebrate the great strides made by various contemporary groups, such as women and African Americans, which have fought for redemption from oppression and won, as our ancestors did. The observance of Passover presents a rich opportunity for interfaith sharing and celebration. 
Kadesh
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

All Jewish celebrations, from holidays to weddings, include wine as a symbol of our joy – not to mention a practical way to increase that joy. The seder starts with wine and then gives us three more opportunities to refill our cup and drink.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who chose us from all peoples and languages, and sanctified us with commandments, and lovingly gave to us special times for happiness, holidays and this time of celebrating the Holiday of Matzah, the time of liberation, reading our sacred stories, and remembering the Exodus from Egypt. For you chose us and sanctified us among all peoples. And you have given us joyful holidays. We praise God, who sanctifies the people of Israel and the holidays.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
 שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam,
she-hechiyanu v’key’manu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything,
who has kept us alive, raised us up, and brought us to this happy moment.

Drink the first glass of wine!

Kadesh

Roasted shankbone
One of the most striking symbols of Passover is the roasted lamb shankbone (called zeroah), which commemorates the paschal (lamb) sacrifice made the night the ancient Hebrews fled Egypt. Some say it symbolizes the outstretched arm of God (the Hebrew word zeroah can mean “arm”). Many vegetarians use a roasted beet instead. This isn’t a new idea; the great Biblical and Talmudic commentator Rashi suggested it back in the eleventh century.

Maror (bitter herb)
Any bitter herb will work, though horseradish is the most common. Bitter herbs bring tears to the eyes and recall the bitterness of slavery. The Seder refers to the slavery in Egypt, but people are called to look at their own bitter enslavements.

Charoset
There’s nothing further from maror than charoset (“cha-ROH-set”), the sweet salad of apples, nuts, wine, and cinnamon that represents the mortar used by the Hebrew slaves to make bricks.

Karpas
Karpas is a green vegetable, usually parsley (though any spring green will do). Karpas symbolizes the freshness of spring. Some families still use boiled potatoes for karpas, continuing a tradition from Eastern Europe where it was difficult to obtain fresh green vegetables.

Salt water
Salt water symbolizes the tears and sweat of enslavement, though paradoxically, it’s also a symbol for purity, springtime, and the sea.

Orange
The tradition of putting an orange on the seder plate in is a response to a less evolved rabbi who told a young girl that a woman belongs on a bimah as much as an orange on a Seder plate. The orange is now said to be a symbol of the fruitfulness of all Jews, whether they be gay straight, male or female. =

Roasted Egg
The roasted egg (baytsah) is a symbol in many different cultures, usually signifying springtime and renewal. Here it stands in place of one of the sacrificial offerings which was performed in the days of the Second Temple. Another popular interpretation is that the egg is like the Jewish people: the hotter you make it for them, the tougher they get.

Boiled Egg (to eat)

May we reflect on our lives this year and soften our hearts to those around us. Another year has passed since we gathered at the Seder table and we are once again reminded that life is fleeting. We are reminded to use each precious moment wisely so that no day will pass without bringing us closer to some worthy achievement as we all take a moment to be aware of how truly blessed and fortunate we are.

Kadesh

On this Seder night, we recall with anguish and love our martyred brothers and sisters, the six million Jews of Europe who were destroyed at the hands of a tyrant more fiendish than Pharaoh. Their memory will never be forgotten.

Trapped in ghettos, caged in death camps, abandoned by an unseeing or uncaring world, Jews gave their lives in acts that sanctified God’s name and the name of the people Israel.

Some rebelled against their tormentors, fighting with makeshift weapons, gathering the last remnants of their failing strength in peerless gestures of courage and defiance.

Others went to their death with their faith in God miraculously unimpaired. Unchecked, unchallenged, evil ran rampant and devoured the holy innocents.

But the light of the Six Million will never be extinguished. Their glow illuminates our path. And we will teach our children and our children’s children to remember them with reverence and with pride. 

Kadesh
Source : Irena Klepsisz

THESE WORDS ARE DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO DIED
Because they had no love and felt alone in the world
Because they were afraid to be alone and tried to stick it out
Because they could not ask
Because they were shunned
Because they were sick and their bodies could not resist the disease
Because they played it safe
Because they had no connection
Because they had no faith
Because they felt they did not belong and wanted to die

THESE WORDS ARE DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO DIED
Because they were loners and liked it
Because they acquired friends and drew others to them
Because they drew attention to themselves and always got picked
Because they took risks
Because they were too stubborn and refused to give up
Because they asked for too much

THESE WORDS ARE DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO DIED
Because a card was lost and a number was skipped
Because a bed was denied
Because a place was filled and no other was left

THESE WORDS ARE DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO DIED
Because someone did not follow through
Because someone was overworked and forgot
Because someone left everything to God
Because someone was late
Because someone did not arrive at all
Because someone told them to wait and they just couldn’t any longer

THESE WORDS ARE DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO DIED
Because death is a punishment
Because death is a reward
Because death is the final rest
Because death is eternal rage

THESE WORDS ARE DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO DIED

THESE WORDS ARE DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO SURVIVED
Because their second grade teacher gave them books
Because they did not draw attention to themselves and got lost in the shuffle
Because they knew someone who knew someone else who could help them
and bumped into them on a corner on a Thursday afternoon
Because they played it safe
Because they took risks
Because they were lucky

THESE WORDS ARE DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO SURVIVED
Because they knew how to cut corners
Because they drew attention to themselves and always got picked
Because they had no principles and were hard

THESE WORDS ARE DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO SURVIVED
Because they refused to give up and defied statistics
Because they had faith and trusted in God
Because they expected the worst and were always prepared
Because they were angry
Because they could ask
Because they mooched off others and saved their strength
Because they endured humiliation
Because they turned the other cheek
Because they looked the other way

THESE WORDS ARE DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO SURVIVED
Because life is a wilderness and they were savage
Because life is an awakening and they were alert
Because life is a flowering and they blossomed
Because life is a struggle and they struggled
Because life is a gift and they were free to accept it.

THESE WORDS ARE DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO SURVIVED. BASHERT.

- IRENA KLEPSISZ

Urchatz
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com
Water is refreshing, cleansing, and clear, so it’s easy to understand why so many cultures and religions use water for symbolic purification. We will wash our hands twice during our seder: now, with no blessing, to get us ready for the rituals to come; and then again later, we’ll wash again with a blessing, preparing us for the meal, which Judaism thinks of as a ritual in itself. (The Jewish obsession with food is older than you thought!)

To wash your hands, you don’t need soap, but you do need a cup to pour water over your hands. Pour water on each of your hands three times, alternating between your hands. If the people around your table don’t want to get up to walk all the way over to the sink, you could pass a pitcher and a bowl around so everyone can wash at their seats… just be careful not to spill!

Too often during our daily lives we don’t stop and take the moment to prepare for whatever it is we’re about to do.

Let's pause to consider what we hope to get out of our evening together tonight. Go around the table and share one hope or expectation you have for tonight's seder.

Karpas
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Passover, like many of our holidays, combines the celebration of an event from our Jewish memory with a recognition of the cycles of nature. As we remember the liberation from Egypt, we also recognize the stirrings of spring and rebirth happening in the world around us. The symbols on our table bring together elements of both kinds of celebration.

We now take a vegetable, representing our joy at the dawning of spring after our long, cold winter. Most families use a green vegetable, such as parsley or celery, but some families from Eastern Europe have a tradition of using a boiled potato since greens were hard to come by at Passover time. Whatever symbol of spring and sustenance we’re using, we now dip it into salt water, a symbol of the tears our ancestors shed as slaves. Before we eat it, we recite a short blessing:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree ha-adama.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruits of the earth.

We look forward to spring and the reawakening of flowers and greenery. They haven’t been lost, just buried beneath the snow, getting ready for reappearance just when we most needed them.

-

We all have aspects of ourselves that sometimes get buried under the stresses of our busy lives. What has this winter taught us? What elements of our own lives do we hope to revive this spring?

Yachatz
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

There are three pieces of matzah stacked on the table. We now break the middle matzah into two pieces. The host should wrap up the larger of the pieces and, at some point between now and the end of dinner, hide it. This piece is called the afikomen, literally “dessert” in Greek. After dinner, the guests will have to hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up the meal… and win a prize.

We eat matzah in memory of the quick flight of our ancestors from Egypt. As slaves, they had faced many false starts before finally being let go. So when the word of their freedom came, they took whatever dough they had and ran with it before it had the chance to rise, leaving it looking something like matzah.

Uncover and hold up the three pieces of matzah and say:

This is the bread of poverty which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. All who are hungry, come and eat; all who are needy, come and celebrate Passover with us. This year we are here; next year we will be in Israel. This year we are slaves; next year we will be free.

These days, matzah is a special food and we look forward to eating it on Passover. Imagine eating only matzah, or being one of the countless people around the world who don’t have enough to eat.

What does the symbol of matzah say to us about oppression in the world, both people literally enslaved and the many ways in which each of us is held down by forces beyond our control? How does this resonate with events happening now?

Maggid - Beginning
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Pour the second glass of wine for everyone.

The Haggadah doesn’t tell the story of Passover in a linear fashion. We don’t hear of Moses being found by the daughter of Pharaoh – actually, we don’t hear much of Moses at all. Instead, we get an impressionistic collection of songs, images, and stories of both the Exodus from Egypt and from Passover celebrations through the centuries. Some say that minimizing the role of Moses keeps us focused on the miracles God performed for us. Others insist that we keep the focus on the role that every member of the community has in bringing about positive change.

-- Four Questions

The formal telling of the story of Passover is framed as a discussion with lots of questions and answers. The tradition that the youngest person asks the questions reflects the centrality of involving everyone in the seder.

Asking questions is a core tradition in Jewish life. The rabbis who created the set format for the seder gave us the Four Questions to help break the ice in case no one had their own questions. If everyone at your seder is around the same age, perhaps the person with the least seder experience can ask them – or everyone can sing them all together.

Why is this night different from all other nights?

מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילות

Ma nishtana halaila hazeh mikol haleilot (mikol haleilot)?

1. On all other nights, we eat either leavened or unleavened bread. Why on this night do we eat only matzah?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכלין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלּוֹ מצה

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin chameitz u-matzah (chameitz u-matzah).
Halaila hazeh (halaila hazeh) kulo matzah.

2. On all other nights, we eat vegetables of all kinds. Why on this night must we eat bitter herbs?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin shi’ar yirakot (shi'ar yirakot)
haleila hazeh (haleila hazeh) maror.

3. On all other nights, we do not dip vegetables even once. Why on this night do we dip twice greens into salt water and bitter herbs into sweet charoset?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָֽנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּֽעַם אחָת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעמים

Shebichol haleilot ain anu matbilin afilu pa-am echat (afilu pa-am echat).
Halaila hazeh (Halaila hazeh) shtei fi-amim.

4. On all other nights, everyone sits up straight at the table. Why on this night do we recline and eat at leisure?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין. :הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּֽנוּ מְסֻבין

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin (bein yoshvin uvein m’subin).
Halaila hazeh (Halaila hazeh) kulanu m’subin.

Does anyone else have any questions they'd like to ask?

-- Four Questions
Source : OtherSide

We start the seder by noticing what is out of the ordinary and then investigating its meaning further.

How is this night different from all other nights?

On all other nights, we depend on the exploitation of invisible others for our food, clothing, homes, and more. Tonight, we listen to the stories of those who suffer to create the goods we use. We commit to working toward the human rights of all workers.

On all other nights, we have allowed human life to become cheap in the economic quest for the cheapest goods. Tonight, we commit to valuing all people, regardless of their race, class, or circumstances.

On all other nights, we have forgotten that poverty, migration, and gender-based violence leave people vulnerable to exploitation, including modern-day slavery. Tonight, we commit to taking concrete actions to end this exploitation and its causes.

On all other nights, we have forgotten to seek wisdom among those who know how to end slavery—the people who have experienced this degradation. Tonight, we commit to slavery prevention that is rooted in the wisdom and experience of workers, trafficking survivors, and affected communities.

When the seder has ended, we will not return to how it has been “on all other nights.” We commit to bringing the lessons of this seder into our actions tomorrow, the next day, and every day to come.

-- Four Children
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As we tell the story, we think about it from all angles. Our tradition speaks of four different types of children who might react differently to the Passover seder. It is our job to make our story accessible to all the members of our community, so we think about how we might best reach each type of child:

What does the wise child say?

The wise child asks, What are the testimonies and laws which God commanded you?

You must teach this child the rules of observing the holiday of Passover.

What does the wicked child say?

The wicked child asks, What does this service mean to you?

To you and not to himself! Because he takes himself out of the community and misses the point, set this child’s teeth on edge and say to him: “It is because of what God did for me in taking me out of Egypt.” Me, not him. Had that child been there, he would have been left behind.

What does the simple child say?

The simple child asks, What is this?

To this child, answer plainly: “With a strong hand God took us out of Egypt, where we were slaves.”

What about the child who doesn’t know how to ask a question?

Help this child ask.

Start telling the story:

“It is because of what God did for me in taking me out of Egypt.”

-

Do you see yourself in any of these children? At times we all approach different situations like each of these children. How do we relate to each of them?

-- Four Children

You can look at the four sons as four generations of Jews in America today.

The first generation of eastern European Jewry who emigrated to America at the turn of the century are represented by THE WISE CHILD. This is the Jew who grew up with a strong connection to the Jewish way of life. His commitment to Judaism is unshakable.

His son, the second generation, is represented in the WICKED CHILD. This is the rebel who wants to succeed in his new life and take on Western values. Although he has grown up in a home full of Jewish values and an integrated Jewish life, he rejects this in favor of integrating into Western society and becoming accepted as the new American.

His son, the third generation, is represented by the SIMPLE CHILD. This child has spent Seder nights at his grandparents' table and has seen his grandmother light the Shabbat candles. He has a spattering of knowledge picked up at Hebrew school, but he doesn't know the meaning behind any of the symbols and is not very motivated to go beyond what he sees.

His son, the fourth generation, is represented in the UNINFORMED CHILD, who doesn't know how or what to ask. This child does not have memories of his great grandparents. He celebrates the American holidays and other than knowing that he is a Jew, has no connection whatsoever to Judaism. He sits at a traditional Seder night and does not even know what to ask because it is all so foreign to him.

Today there is a fifth son, the ABSENT CHILD, who is off in India or out at the movies on Seder night, not even aware that Passover exists. Anyone sitting at the Seder table is still connected to the Jewish people and heritage just by being there. We just need to get him interested enough to ask a question so a door can be opened for him

-- Four Children
Source : Adapted from Peace and Justice Haggadah
My Angry Self – Violent and oppressive things are happening to me, the people I love and people I don’t even know. Why can’t we make the people in power hurt the way we are all hurting?

Expressing our anger, releasing our anger, knowing and claiming our anger is an important step in the process of liberation, but hatred and violence can never overcome hatred and violence. Only love and compassion can transform our world. 

My Ashamed Self – I’m so ashamed of what people are doing that I have no way of dealing with it!

We acknowledge our feelings of guilt, shame and disappointment in order to not be paralyzed by these strong emotions. We transmute these forces, using the fire of injustice to fuel us in working for change. We also remember and celebrate the amazing, ordinary people around the world who are working to dismantle oppression together everyday.

My Fearful Self – Why should I care about other people when they don’t care about me? If I share what I have, there won’t be enough and I will end up suffering.

We must challenge the sense of scarcity that we have learned from capitalism and our histories of oppression. If we change the way food, housing, education, and resources are distributed, we could all have enough. 

Martin Luther King said: It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.

My Compassionate Self – How can I struggle for justice with an open heart? How can we live in a way that builds the world we want to live in, without losing hope?

This is the question that we answer with our lives. Compassion is the foundation upon which we can build loving communities, dedicated to the lifelong journey toward liberation. We are all blind and constricted in certain areas, and we are all wise and liberated in others. Compassion allows us to forgive ourselves and each other for our imperfections, and to release the judgments that keep us from fully experiencing love.

Each of us contains the angry one, the ashamed one, the frightened one, the compassionate one. When we can acknowledge all four of them, we are able to stay on the long and winding path toward personal liberation.

-- Exodus Story
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Our story starts in ancient times, with Abraham, the first person to have the idea that maybe all those little statues his contemporaries worshiped as gods were just statues. The idea of one God, invisible and all-powerful, inspired him to leave his family and begin a new people in Canaan, the land that would one day bear his grandson Jacob’s adopted name, Israel.

God had made a promise to Abraham that his family would become a great nation, but this promise came with a frightening vision of the troubles along the way: “Your descendants will dwell for a time in a land that is not their own, and they will be enslaved and afflicted for four hundred years; however, I will punish the nation that enslaved them, and afterwards they shall leave with great wealth."

Raise the glass of wine and say:

וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ וְלָֽנוּ

V’hi she-amda l’avoteinu v’lanu.

This promise has sustained our ancestors and us.

For not only one enemy has risen against us to annihilate us, but in every generation there are those who rise against us. But God saves us from those who seek to harm us.

The glass of wine is put down.

In the years our ancestors lived in Egypt, our numbers grew, and soon the family of Jacob became the People of Israel. Pharaoh and the leaders of Egypt grew alarmed by this great nation growing within their borders, so they enslaved us. We were forced to perform hard labor, perhaps even building pyramids. The Egyptians feared that even as slaves, the Israelites might grow strong and rebel. So Pharaoh decreed that Israelite baby boys should be drowned, to prevent the Israelites from overthrowing those who had enslaved them.

But God heard the cries of the Israelites. And God brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm, with great awe, miraculous signs and wonders. God brought us out not by angel or messenger, but through God’s own intervention. 

-- Exodus Story

Scene 1: In the Desert

Moses is galloping (skipping on foot while clopping coconuts together to sound like hoofbeats) across the desert. He comes to a burning bush.

Bush: Halt! Who goes there!

Moses: A shrubbery! A talking shrubbery! One that looks nice, but is not too expensive. It is a good shrubbery. I like the laurels particularly.

Bush: Moses! Moses, Leader of the Israelites!

(Moses looks stunned, drops to his knees in awe and bows his head to the ground in front of the burning bush.)

Bush: Oh, don't grovel! If there's one thing I can't stand, it's people groveling.

Moses: Sorry--

Bush: And don't apologize. Every time I try to talk to someone, it's "sorry this" and "forgive me that" and "I'm not worthy". What are you doing now!?

Moses: I'm averting my eyes, oh Lord.

Bush: Well, don't. It's like those miserable Psalms -- they're so depressing. Now knock it off.

Moses: Yes, Lord.

Bush: Right! Moses, leader of the Israelites your people shall have a task to make them an example in these dark times.

Moses: Good idea, Lord!

Bush: Of course it's a good idea! Behold! This is your task to deliver the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.

Moses: A blessing! But are you sure I shouldn't deliver a pizza instead

Scene 2: In Egypt

Moses: I never wanted to do this job of deliverance in the first place. At least delivering pizzas pays good tips! I wanted to be a lumberjack, even though its a bit hard doing that in the desert.

(Israelites sing) Oh, we're Egyptian slaves. It's not OK. We work all night and we work all day. We quarry blocks and make mud bricks And want to run away!

Scene 3: Asking Pharaoh to leave

Moses approaches Pharaoh and his advisors to ask for permission for the Israelites to leave Egypt.

Pharaoh and his advisors say, "Ni! We are the keepers of the sacred words: Ni, Ping, and Neeee-wommmm! We want a shrubbery!!!"

Moses says, "I already found a shrubbery in the desert. It told me it was God, and told me to deliver the Israelites from bondage in Egypt."

When Pharaoh asks for proof that Moses speaks for God, he shows Pharaoh the holy hand grenade and Aaron pulls the holy pin, making mincemeat of half the advisors.

Scene 4: The Ten Plagues

Killer rabbits.

Dead parrots.

The Spanish Inquisition.

Silly walks.

1000-ton weights.

Plague six. There IS no plague six!

Crunchy frogs.

Spam.

Giant badgers.

The killing of the first born.

The morning after the final plague, the Egyptian garbage collectors roam the streets calling, "Bring out your dead!" People bring corpses of plague victims to the dead cart.

When they start to pick up one body, one of the collectors says, "Wait a bit. He's not dead. He's just resting." A lightning bolt comes out of the sky, hitting the body and killing it. The collectors smile and heave it onto the cart.

Scene 5: The Exodus

Aaron (addressing the assembled Israelite multitude): We need to sneak out of Egypt quickly without Pharaoh's army noticing. In this demonstration, we hope to show how to leave Egypt without being seen. This is Miriam of the Tribe of Levi. She can not be seen. Now I am going to ask her to stand up. Sister Miriam, will you stand up please?

In the distance Miriam stands up. There is a clap of thunder and Miriam crumples to the ground.

Aaron: This demonstrates the value of not being seen.

(Stop! This is getting too silly!)

Scene 6: Arriving at the Red Sea.

The Red Sea guard challenges the fleeing Israelites as they arrive, saying, "None shall pass."

Guard: What is your name?

Moses: Moses.

Guard: What is your quest?

Moses: To reach the Promised Land.

Guard: What are your favorite colors?

Moses: Blue and white.

Guard: You may pass.

The Israelites pass through the Red Sea. Now Pharaoh's army approaches, led by Rameses.

Guard: What is your name? Rameses: Rameses, Pharaoh of Egypt Guard: What is your quest? Rameses: To bring back the fleeing Israelite slaves.

Guard: What is the capital of modern-day Abyssinia

Rameses: I don't know that.

The guard unleashes a flood of water onto Rameses and the army, drowning them all.

Rameses: Auuugh!

Aaron watches awestruck, then asks Moses how he was able to answer the questions so well. Moses says, "You have to know these sorts of things when youre a leader of the Israelites, you know."

Narrator: Forty years later, after wandering around in the desert searching for the Holy Grail, Moses and Joshua stumble across a dragon ship and sail across the river Jordan to swelling music, but just as everything looks like there will be a happy ending ....

Moses: No afikomen here. Let's head back.

And now for something completely different.

-- Exodus Story
-- Ten Plagues
Source : Machar

Leader:
Let us all refill our cups.

[Take turns reading. Each person is invited to read a grouped set of lines - or to pass.]

Tonight we drink four cups of the fruit of the vine.
There are many explanations for this custom.
They may be seen as symbols of various things:
the four corners of the earth, for freedom must live everywhere;
the four seasons of the year, for freedom's cycle must last through all the seasons;
or the four matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel.

A full cup of wine symbolizes complete happiness.
The triumph of Passover is diminished by the sacrifice of many human lives
when ten plagues were visited upon the people of Egypt.
In the story, the plagues that befell the Egyptians resulted from the decisions of tyrants,
but the greatest suffering occurred among those who had no choice but to follow.

It is fitting that we mourn their loss of life, and express our sorrow over their suffering.
For as Jews and as Humanists we cannot take joy in the suffering of others.
Therefore, let us diminish the wine in our cups
as we recall the ten plagues that befell the Egyptian people.

Leader:

As we recite the name of each plague, in English and then in Hebrew,
please dip a finger in your wine and then touch your plate to remove the drop.

Everyone:

Blood - Dam (Dahm)
Frogs - Ts'phardea (Ts'phar-DEH-ah)
Gnats - Kinim (Kih-NEEM)
Flies - Arov (Ah-ROV)
Cattle Disease - Dever (DEH-vehr)
Boils - Sh'hin (Sh'-KHEEN)
Hail - Barad (Bah-RAHD)
Locusts - `Arbeh (Ar-BEH)
Darkness - Hoshekh (KHO-shekh)
Death of the Firstborn - Makkat B'khorot (Ma-katB'kho-ROT) 

[Take turns reading. Each person is invited to read a grouped set of lines - or to pass.]

In the same spirit, our celebration today also is shadowed
by our awareness of continuing sorrow and oppression in all parts of the world.
Ancient plagues are mirrored in modern tragedies.

In our own time, as in ancient Egypt, ordinary people suffer and die
as a result of the actions of the tyrants who rule over them.
While we may rejoice in the defeat of tyrants in our own time,
we must also express our sorrow at the suffering of the many innocent people
who had little or no choice but to follow.

Leader:

As the pain of others diminishes our joys,
let us once more diminish the ceremonial drink of our festival
as we together recite the names of these modern plagues:

Hunger
War
Tyranny
Greed
Bigotry
Injustice
Poverty
Ignorance
Pollution of the Earth Indifference to Suffering

Leader:
Let us sing a song expressing our hope for a better world. 

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

בְּכָל־דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת־עַצְמוֹ, כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרָֽיִם

B’chol dor vador chayav adam lirot et-atzmo, k’ilu hu yatzav mimitzrayim.

In every generation, everyone is obligated to see themselves as though they personally left Egypt.

The seder reminds us that it was not only our ancestors whom God redeemed; God redeemed us too along with them. That’s why the Torah says “God brought us out from there in order to lead us to and give us the land promised to our ancestors.”

---

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who redeemed us and our ancestors from Egypt, enabling us to reach this night and eat matzah and bitter herbs. May we continue to reach future holidays in peace and happiness.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the second glass of wine!

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

The plagues and our subsequent redemption from Egypt are but one example of the care God has shown for us in our history. Had God but done any one of these kindnesses, it would have been enough – dayeinu.

אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָֽנוּ מִמִּצְרַֽיִם, דַּיֵּנוּ

Ilu hotzi- hotzianu, Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim, Dayeinu

If God had only taken us out of Egypt, that would have been enough!

אִלּוּ נָתַן לָֽנוּ אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה, דַּיֵּנוּ

Ilu natan natan lanu, natan lanu et ha-Torah, Natan lanu et ha-Torah , Dayeinu

If God had only given us the Torah, that would have been enough.

 The complete lyrics to Dayeinu tell the entire story of the Exodus from Egypt as a series of miracles God performed for us. (See the Additional Readings if you want to read or sing them all.)

Dayeinu also reminds us that each of our lives is the cumulative result of many blessings, small and large. 

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
From singing Dayenu we learn to celebrate each landmark on our people's journey. Yet we must never confuse these way stations with the goal. Because it is not yet Dayenu. There is still so much to do in our work of tikkun olam, repairing the world.

When governments end the escalating production of devastating weapons, secure in the knowledge that they will not be necessary, Dayenu.

When all women and men are allowed to make their own decisions on matters regarding their own bodies and personal relationships without discrimination or legal consequences, Dayenu.

When children grow up in freedom, without hunger, and with the love and support they need to realize their full potential, Dayenu.

When the air, water, fellow creatures and beautiful world are protected for the benefit and enjoyment of all and given priority over development for the sake of profit, Dayenu.

When people of all ages, sexes, races, religions, sexual orientations, cultures and nations respect and appreciate one another, Dayenu.

When each person can say, "This year, I worked as hard as I could toward improving the world so that all people can experience the joy and freedom I feel sitting here tonight at the seder table," Dayenu v'lo Dayenu - It will and will not be enough.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

So let’s bring Dayeinu into the present tonight. We have a vision, we take it to heart, and we work hard to make it happen. We are grateful, and yet what miracles and accomplishments would be sufficient (Dayeinu) in today’s world for us to be truly satisfied?

1. When all workers of the world receive just compensation and respect for their labors, enjoy safe, healthy and secure working conditions and can take pride in their work. . . Dayeinu

2. When governments end the escalating production of devastating weapons, secure in the knowledge that they will not be necessary. . . Dayeinu

3. When technology is for the production and conservation of energy and our other natural resources is developed so that we can maintain responsible and comfortable lifestyles and still assure a safe environment for our children. . . Dayeinu

4. When the air, water, fellow creatures and beautiful world are protected for the benefit and enjoyment of all, and given priority over development for the sake of profits. . . Dayeinu

5. When all people live freely, practicing their beliefs and cultures without interference or persecution. . . Dayeinu

6. When all women and men are allowed to make their own decisions on matters regarding their own bodies and their personal relationships without discrimination or legal consequences. . . Dayeinu

7. When people of all ages, sexes, races, religions, cultures and nations respect and appreciate one another. . . Dayeinu  

8. When all children grow up in freedom, without hunger, and with the love and support they need to realize their full potential. . . Dayeinu

9. When all children, men and women are free of the threat of violence, abuse and domination; when personal power and strength are not used as weapons. . . Dayeinu

10. When all people have access to the information and care they need for their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. . . Dayeinu

11. When food and shelter are accepted as human rights, not as commodities, and are available to all. . . Dayeinu

12. When no elderly person in our society has to fear hunger, cold, or loneliness. . . Dayeinu

13. When the people of the Middle East, and all people living in strife, are able to create paths to just and lasting peace. . . Dayeinu

14. When people everywhere have the opportunities we have to celebrate our culture and use it as a basis for progressive change in the world. . . Dayeinu

All: If tonight each person could say this year I worked as hard as I could toward my goals for improving this world, so that one day all people can experience the joy and freedom I feel sitting with my family and friends at the Seder table. . . Dayeinu, Dayeinu

Rachtzah
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As we now transition from the formal telling of the Passover story to the celebratory meal, we once again wash our hands to prepare ourselves. In Judaism, a good meal together with friends and family is itself a sacred act, so we prepare for it just as we prepared for our holiday ritual, recalling the way ancient priests once prepared for service in the Temple.

Some people distinguish between washing to prepare for prayer and washing to prepare for food by changing the way they pour water on their hands. For washing before food, pour water three times on your right hand and then three times on your left hand.

After you have poured the water over your hands, recite this short blessing.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ  עַל נְטִילַת יָדָֽיִם

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al n’tilat yadayim.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to wash our hands.

Motzi-Matzah
Source : JewishBoston.com

The blessing over the meal and matzah | motzi matzah | מוֹצִיא מַצָּה

The familiar hamotzi blessing marks the formal start of the meal. Because we are using matzah instead of bread, we add a blessing celebrating this mitzvah.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִיא לֶֽחֶם מִן הָאָֽרֶץ

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who brings bread from the land.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתַָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat matzah.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to eat matzah.

Distribute and eat the top and middle matzah for everyone to eat.

Motzi-Matzah
Source : United with Israel

On this night, we also remember a fifth child. This is the child of the Holocaust who did not survive to ask, "Why was the night of Passover, 1943, different from all other Passover nights?" And so, we ask for that child.

The conditions within the Vaihingen Concentration Camp were horrific, especially during that dreadful winter of 1944-1945.The Jews living within this Nazis concentration camp were imported from the Radom Ghetto in Poland in order to engage in slave labor for 12 hour shifts, without a break.They built armaments, dug tunnels for bomb shelters, and performed many other highly physical tasks for the Nazis, who sought to bring their armaments manufacturing underground due to intense Allied bombing. The sub human conditions and treatment of prisoners caused Vaihingen Concentration Camp to haveone of the highest mortality rates of all of the Nazis concentration camps.In the beginning, only Jews lived in this Nazis concentration camp, yet later on, French and German prisoners were sent there as well. Towards the end of the war, the Vaihingen Concentration Camp was where sick and dying people were sent. However, despite all of these afflictions that the Jews of the Vaihingen Concentration Camp suffered,they still managed to celebrate the Passover Seder.

They were determined to preserve the traditions of their ancestors, despite the fact that doing so was risky business in a Nazis concentration camp. One camp resident, Moshe Perl, whose testimony is preserved in Inferno and Vengeance, asserted: “The people in the camp were already used to their miserable situation. They saw death before their eyes. But they were not willing to eat chametz on Passover.” Yet he asked, “Where could be get flour and potatoes and how could we bake matza?”

Perl managed to find an innovative solution, however. Perl asserted, “Shortly before Passover, one of the SS men in the camp entered my workshop, where I painted signs. He asked me to make dummy targets for target practice. Just then, an idea flashed through my mind—I could suggest making big targets with wooden frames and covering them with paper bags, which were available in abundance in the camp storehouse. I claimed that I would need flour, lots of flour, to paste the pictures of soldiers on the targets. He asked how much flour. I said I would need five kilograms. He liked my suggestion and immediately gave me an appropriate referral.”

The Jews of the Vaihingen Concentration went to work baking the matza in secret, even though they knew that they would die if they were caught.Perl proclaimed, “Throughout the camp, we organized wooden beams. We found a wheel among my work tools with which to perform the matza and our matza-baking entered into high gear. We collected glass bottles, washed them well, cleaned the upside down table with the fragments and kneaded the dough. We baked the matza in the oven in my work room, keeping the door and windows hermetically sealed. Our problem was how to hide the matza we managed to bate at such great risk. We found a solution to the problem. We hid it under the shingles of our workshop roof.”

When the night of the Seder came, twenty Jews who lived in the Vaihingen Concentration Camp managed to pull off a Seder, where aside from the matza they ate potatoes and drank homemade wine which consisted of water and sugar. They even managed to read the Hagaddah. Right before the Allied invasion, many of these prisoners were sent on a death march to the Dachou Concentration Camp. But for the prisoners who remained to see the Allied liberation, 92 of them would die soon afterwards due to the various illnesses that they suffered because of the atrocious humanitarian conditions within the camp. Yet, while the Nazis may have succeeded to destroy many Jewish lives within the Vaihingen Concentration Camp,they failed to destroy their Jewish souls and break their will to do the Passover Seder.

By Rachel Avraham

Maror

Dipping the bitter herb in sweet charoset | maror |מָרוֹר

In creating a holiday about the joy of freedom, we turn the story of our bitter history into a sweet celebration. We recognize this by dipping our bitter herbs into the sweet charoset. We don’t totally eradicate the taste of the bitter with the taste of the sweet… but doesn’t the sweet mean more when it’s layered over the bitterness?

Why do we eat maror? Maror represents the bitterness of bondage. Why do we eat haroset? It symbolizes the mortar for the bricks our ancestors laid in Egypt. Though it represents slave labor, charoset is sweet, reminding us that sometimes constriction or enslavement can be masked in familiar sweetness.

Eating the two together, we remind ourselves to be mindful of life with all its sweetness and bitterness, and to seek balance between the two.

ברוּךְ אַתָּה יְיַָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מרוֹר:

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat maror.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to eat bitter herbs.

Koreich
Source : Adapted from JewishBoston.com

When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the biggest ritual of them all was eating the lamb offered as the Passover sacrifice. The great sage Hillel would put the meat in a sandwich made of matzah, along with some of the bitter herbs. While we do not make sacrifices any more – and, in fact, some Jews have a custom of purposely avoiding lamb during the seder so that it is not mistaken as a sacrifice – we honor this custom by eating a sandwich of the remaining matzoh, maror and charoset. We make these sandwiches to remind us of the mortar our ancestors used to construct huge monuments for Pharaoh in Egypt, the bitterness of slavery, and the sweetness that gives us hope that the future will bring redemption and justice to all people.

As you we eat this sandwich, we hope for a more just future in our own communities, and use this sandwich as sustenance for the work ahead.

Everyone: In ancient times, the reverend sage, Hillel, would eat a sandwich of matzoh and maror to fulfill the commandment "They shall eat the paschal lamb together with the unleavened bread and bitter herbs." Thus, he did combine them, even as we now do, and ate them together.

[Everyone: Eat the sandwich. Recline to the left while eating.]

Shulchan Oreich
As we sit here as free men and women, it is so easy for us to forget the hardships that our ancestors had to overcome for our freedom. The exodus from servile Egypt to liberated Israel is viewed as the most pivotal event in Jewish history. So why do we lean on Pesach?

It was the custom of ancient royalty to recline on the left for two reasons:

a) Food is normally held in the right hand. Leaning toward the left leaves the right hand free.

b) Leaning on the right is a choking hazard. It can prevent the epiglottis from covering the trachea, allowing food to enter and stop the flow of oxygen.

So as we sit here in the Hebrew year of 5775 in Eretz Hakodesh as a free nation,we act in the same manner as that of Kings. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to dwell and rejoice in the holy land, a dream many Jewish Kings were unable to fulfil. Make the most of it you Melachim!!

Shulchan Oreich

All jewish holidays are the same, people try to kill us, and then we eat. Please enjoy the festive meal while we recline and relax.

Tzafun
Source : By Lauren Plattman and Leslie Klein. Adapted by Brandi Ullian.

Tzafun, which literally means “hidden,” is the part of the Seder where we seek what is not obvious, when we look for something other than what is in front of our faces. It is also when we return to that which was broken earlier in the evening and make it meaningful. In this way, Tzafun serves as the organizing principle of the second half of our Seder, where we ask ourselves what world we want to see, when we commit ourselves to making our vision real.

Searching and finding the matzoh is a tradition for the children to search for and find the afikomen, and when they do, they are given a reward by the adults. The act of leaving the table and searching for the matzoh represents the Israelites coming out of Egypt and searching for freedom; the finding of the afikomen in exchange for a prize represents finding redemption and, in exchange, receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.

Searching for the afikomen is also a very spiritual part of the Seder. In contrast with the strict order of the preparation and dinner, we can go and search for the afikomen without any rules or regulations. (Well, some rules: no tipping furniture, going in bedrooms or breaking anything!) It is up to us as individuals -- or a group -- to find the afikomen, relying only on our instincts and faith that we will achieve our goal.

[Leader: Collect the afikomen and distribute pieces to all guests.]

Leader says: "Afikomen" means "dessert."  In ancient times, the paschal lamb was the last food to be eaten. It its place, we now partake in this piece of Afikomen, with which our meal is completed. 

[Everyone: Eat the piece of matzoh.]

Tzafun

(LEADER) The playfulness of finding the afikomen reminds us that we balance our solemn memories of slavery with a joyous celebration of freedom. The meal cannot continue until the afikomen is found. Once it is brought to the leader, we split it up and enjoy it together. As we eat the afikomen, our last taste of matzah for the evening, we are grateful for moments of silliness and happiness in our lives.

Bareich

Refill everyone’s wine glass. We now say "grace" after the meal (a.k.a. The Birkat Hamazon):

(Below is the Hebrew and then the transliteration of the Hebrew, which is chanted in silliness and joy):

שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת:

בְּשׁוּב יהוה אֶת־שִׁיבַת צִיּוֹן הָיִ֫ינוּ כְּחֹלְמִים. אָז יִמָּלֵא שְׂחוֹק פִּינוּ וּלְשׁוֹנֵנוּ רִנָּה, אָז יֹאמְרוּ בַגּוֹיִם, הִגְדִּיל יְיָ לַעֲשׂוֹת עִם אֵלֶּה. הִגְדִּיל יְיָ לַעֲשׂוֹת עִמָּנוּ, הָיִינוּ שְׂמֵחִים. שׁוּבָה יְיָ אֶת שְׁבִיתֵנוּ, כַּאֲפִיקִים בַּנֶּגֶב. הַזֹּרְעִים בְּדִמְעָה בְּרִנָּה יִקְצֹרוּ. הָלוֹךְ יֵלֵךְ וּבָכֹה נֹשֵׂא מֶשֶׁךְ הַזָּרַע, בֹּא יָבֹא בְרִנָּה נֹשֵׂא אֲלֻמֹּתָיו.

תְּהִלַּת יְיָ יְדַבֶּר פִּי, וִיבָרֵךְ כָּל בָּשָׂר שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. וַאֲנַחְנוּ נְבָרֵךְ יָהּ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם הַלְלוּיָהּ. הוֹדוּ לַייָ כִּי טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. מִי יְמַלֵּל גְּבוּרוֹת יְיָ יַשְׁמִיעַ כָּל תְּהִלָּתוֹ

Shir Hama’alot, b’shuv Adonai et shee-vat Tzion, ha-yeenu k’chol meem. Az y’ma-lei s’chok pee-nu u’l-sho-nei-nu reena, az yo-m’ru va-goyim, heeg-deel Adonai la-asot eem eleh. Heeg-deel Adonai la-asot eemanu, ha-yee-nu s’mei-cheem. Shuva Adonai et sh’vee-tei-nu, ka-afee-keem ba-negev. Ha-zor-eem b’deem-ah b’reena yeek-tzo-ru. Ha-loch yei-lech u-va-cho no-sei me-shech hazara, bo yavo v’reena, no-sei alu-mo-tav.

Chaverai n’varech! Y’Hishim Adonai m’vorach m’vetach v’adolam! Y’Hishim Adonai m’vorach m’vetach v’adolam, birshut chaverai n’varach eloheinu shelchanuh m’sheloh. birshut chaverai n’varach eloheinu shelchanuh m’sheloh, uvtuvoh chaeinu!

Baruch u’vuroch shemoh!

Baruch Atah Adonai!

Eloheinu melech ha’olam, hazan et ha’olam kulo b’tuvo b’chen b’chesed uv’rachamin. Hu noten lechem l’chol basar ki l’olam chasdo. Uv’tuvo hagadol tamid lo chasar lanu v’al yech’sar lanu mason l’olam va’ed. Ba’avur sh’mo hagadol ki hu zan um’farnes lakol umetiv lakol umechin mazon l’chol b’riyotav asher bara.

Baruch Atah Adonai, hazan et hakol!

We now give thanks for the food we have eaten. We praise Adonai, Ruler of the Universe, whose goodness sustains the world. (You are the origin of love and compassion, the source of bread for all.)

We praise God, source of food for everyone. As it says in the Torah: When you have eaten and are satisfied, give praise to your God who has given you this good earth.

We praise God for the earth and for its sustenance. Renew our spiritual center in our time.

We praise God, who centers us. May the source of peace grant peace to us, to the Jewish people, and to the entire world. Amen.

The Third Glass of Wine

The blessing over the meal is immediately followed by another blessing over the wine:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the third glass of wine!

Hallel
Source : JewishBoston.com

Singing songs that praise God | hallel | הַלֵּל

This is the time set aside for singing. Some of us might sing traditional prayers from the Book of Psalms. Others take this moment for favorites like Chad Gadya & Who Knows One, which you can find in the appendix. To celebrate the theme of freedom, we might sing songs from the civil rights movement. Or perhaps your crazy Uncle Frank has some parody lyrics about Passover to the tunes from a musical. We’re at least three glasses of wine into the night, so just roll with it.

Fourth Glass of Wine

As we come to the end of the seder, we drink one more glass of wine. With this final cup, we give thanks for the experience of celebrating Passover together, for the traditions that help inform our daily lives and guide our actions and aspirations.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the fourth and final glass of wine! 

Hallel
Source : JewishBoston.com

The Cup of Elijah

We now refill our wine glasses one last time and open the front door to invite the prophet Elijah to join our seder.

In the Bible, Elijah was a fierce defender of God to a disbelieving people. At the end of his life, rather than dying, he was whisked away to heaven. Tradition holds that he will return in advance of messianic days to herald a new era of peace, so we set a place for Elijah at many joyous, hopeful Jewish occasions, such as a baby’s bris and the Passover seder.

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּיאֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ,אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי

בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

Eliyahu hanavi
Eliyahu hatishbi
Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu hagiladi
Bimheirah b’yameinu, yavo eileinu
Im mashiach ben-David,
Im mashiach ben-David

Elijah the prophet, the returning, the man of Gilad:
return to us speedily,
in our days with the messiah,
son of David.

Nirtzah

Hope for a Jewish Sanctuary in Israel 

They marched us down the length of Pozohony Street, toward the Margaret Bridge and that was when we understood they were bringing us to the edge of the Danube, where they would shoot us and leave us to die under the ice. When we arrived at the foot of the bridge, a Soviet reconnaissance aircraft appeared out of nowhere over our heads. The death march stopped, and there was a moment of chaos while the Nazi guards sought refuge in the entrance to buildings and shot their sub machine guns skyward. Mother and I were standing next to a small public toilet of metal and painted green and mother pushed me inside. ‘Pretend you’re peeing’ she said. I stood there frozen with cold and fear, but I could not pee; when you are thirteen years old and frightened you cannot pee. The Soviet plane had meanwhile disappeared and the march resumed. Not a soul noticed that mother and I had remained in the toilet. Half an hour later, not a single person from the march was left alive. This was a key moment in my life, the moment that defines me more accurately than any other – more than anything I ever did, more than any place I ever visited, more than any person I have ever met. Not because I was spared – every survivor has his own story or a private miracle – but because I had nowhere to go….in this big wide world there was not a single place for a Jewish boy of thirteen whom everyone wants to kill. So we went back to the ghetto. Years later on a trip I took to Budapest with my son Yair, we took a walk and found ourselves, without planning to, at the Margaret Bridge. We strolled along, chatting merrily when suddenly I stopped and, shaking, pointed at something ahead of us. At first Yair could not understand what it was that I was pointing at, but there it was: the public toilet made of metal and painted green. We stood there, two grown men, hugging and crying and stroking the green walls of the public toilet that saved my life, while the Hungarians who passed us on the street did so with caution, convinced they were looking at two lunatics. ‘My boy,’ I said once I was calm enough to speak, ‘it was in this place, without my even knowing it that I became a Zionist. It is the whole Zionist idea in fact, The State of Israel is a problematic place, and we’ll always have our arguments with it, but this is the very reason it was established. So that every Jewish child will always have a place to go.’ I hope that Yair understood. I am certain that he did not forget. -Yair Lapid, Memories After My Death

This Year We Are Slaves

What do these words mean?
We are slaves because yesterday our people were in slavery and memory makes yesterday real for us.
We are slaves because today there are still people in chains around the world and no one can be truly free while others are in chains.
We are slaves because freedom means more than broken chains.
Where there is poverty and hunger and homelessness, there is no freedom; where there is prejudice and bigotry and discrimination, there is no freedom; where there is violence and torture and war, there is no freedom.
And where each of us is less than he or she might be, we are not free, not yet.
And who, this year, can be deaf to the continuing oppression of the downtrodden, who can be blind to the burdens and the rigors that are now to be added to the most vulnerable in our midst?
If these things be so, who among us can say that he or she is free?

What Happens to Them Happens to Me (Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham J. Heschel) 

Leader Prejudice is like a hydra, a monster which has many heads, an evil which requires many efforts to overcome. One head sends forth poison against the people of a different race, another against the people of a different religion or culture. Thus the evil of prejudice is indivisible.

 Group Human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God. Without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the insurgent and primitive forces of irrational emotionalism and social stagnation.

Leader What is called for is not a silent sigh but a voice of moral compassion and indignation, the sublime and inspired screaming of a prophet uttered by a whole community.

Group The voice of justice is stronger than bigotry and the hour calls for that voice as well as the concerted and incessant action.

Leader I have personal faith. I believe firmly that in spite of the difficulties of these days, in spite of the struggles ahead, we will and we can solve this problem. I believe there will be a better America.

Nirtzah
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Nirtzah  marks the conclusion of the seder. Our bellies are full, we have had several glasses of wine, we have told stories and sung songs, and now it is time for the evening to come to a close. At the end of the seder, we honor the tradition of declaring, “Next year in Jerusalem!”

For some people, the recitation of this phrase expresses the anticipation of rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem and the return of the Messiah. For others, it is an affirmation of hope and of connectedness with  Klal Yisrael, the whole of the Jewish community. Still others yearn for peace in Israel and for all those living in the Diaspora.

Though it comes at the end of the seder, this moment also marks a beginning. We are beginning the next season with a renewed awareness of the freedoms we enjoy and the obstacles we must still confront. We are looking forward to the time that we gather together again. Having retold stories of the Jewish people, recalled historic movements of liberation, and reflected on the struggles people still face for freedom and equality, we are ready to embark on a year that we hope will bring positive change in the world and freedom to people everywhere.

In  The Leader's Guide to the Family Participation Haggadah: A Different Night, Rabbi David Hartman writes: “Passover is the night for reckless dreams; for visions about what a human being can be, what society can be, what people can be, what history may become.”

What can  we  do to fulfill our reckless dreams? What will be our legacy for future generations?

Our seder is over, according to Jewish tradition and law. As we had the pleasure to gather for a seder this year, we hope to once again have the opportunity in the years to come. We pray that God brings health and healing to Israel and all the people of the world, especially those impacted by natural tragedy and war. As we say…

לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם

L’shana haba-ah biy’rushalayim

NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!